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Greg Kihlström: “Inspiration comes when you are able to relax your focus and be in the moment”

Washington DC, July 31, 2015.

In TopInteractiveAgencies we use to ask some interesting people of digital marketing world about their career, inspirations, ambitions and future perspectives. In this opportunity we’ve talked with Greg Kihlström, who is founder and CEO at Carousel30, a Washington, DC-based digital agency.


He also is an award winning creative director and digital strategist who has worked with top brands, including AARP, Ben & Jerry’s, Geico, MTV, Starbucks, The Nature Conservancy, Toyota and United Nations.

What do you do for inspiration?

While I look at design websites for creative inspiration, I often gotten the most inspiration from sources that are seemingly unrelated to design and marketing. This could be anything from reading a book on mathematics, to walking somewhere new with my dog, to having a conversation with a colleague over coffee. Inspiration comes most easily when you are able to relax your focus and be in the moment. Activities like drawing, painting and other things that take me away from my phone and computer are immensely helpful as well.

When we asked about his favourite sites or online publications, he named Design Taxi, Communications Arts, Mashable and Wired because some of them provide direct inspiration for interactive design, and others provide insights into what smart people are doing and trends to say on top of. In terms of countries, Japan, Australia and the UK are which he excited the most in terms of innovation and come to his mind as having penty or great talent and agencies that are pushing boundaries of innovation.

When and how did you start your career?
I started my career working as a print designer for a nonprofit organization who at the time was needing their first website. I quickly jumped at the opportunity to design the site and hand code it. That definitely began my career in digital media and marketing. My next job was for a tech startup that created communication tools in the late 90’s.

What did your very firs site look like? Is it still online?
My very first personal website had been for my band in college in the early/mid 90s. That site is most definitely not still online and was very rudimentary, and contained an animated GIF or two, well before they became trendy. I was proud to have been mostly self-taught as far as HTML is concerned, though with tables, framesets, and no CMS, it was most certainly a product of its time.

And what about Carousel30’s first website? How was it look like?
Carousel30’s first website was for a biotech company that was written as a static HTML site. It is also not active in its original form. While there, they got to innovate in the area of online marketing, as social media didn’t quite exist and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was a relatively new profession. After a few years working at the startup, I struck off on my own and started a freelance consulting company which eventually became Carousel30 that nowadays, it’s a full-service digital agency with national and international clients and a host of award-winning work.

Talking now about the future, he continues saying that websites will continue to evolve, as will the types of devices that they will be accessed on. Because of this, they will continue to become more and more adaptive to the form factor of the screen they will be viewed on, as well as for the person who is viewing them. “Personalization also will continue to become more sophisticated”, ends Greg.